This is Kurt Vonnegut, reporting from the afterlife

In a 1997 letter to Manhattan-based radio station WNYC, author Kurt Vonnegut pitches his idea for a series of fictional interviews with the deceased. In fact the idea came to fruition and numerous 90-second segments — one of which can be heard here — were subsequently broadcast, with interviewees ranging from the non-famous through to names such as Isaac Asimov and William Shakespeare. These interviews were also compiled in the book, God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian.

Transcript follows. Image courtesy of WNYC. Huge thanks to Matthias Rascher for bringing it to my attention.

Image: WNYC


Mar 25 97

Dear Marty —

I have indeed noodled around some with your most recent flattering proposition. I came up with this:

“This is Kurt Vonnegut, your NPR reporter, thanks to controlled near-death experiences, from the afterlife. NPR thanks the people of Texas for my use of their lethal execution chamber at their adult correctional facilities at Huntsville, which has made possible my now more than one hundred visits to Heaven, and my returning to life to tell the tale.”

What would follow would be my account of how people now dead, names taken from the NYT obituaries or the Enquirer or whatever, feel about what happened to them when they were among the living.

I don’t have a million ideas. That’s my only one.

There is no hell, but since the O.J. Simpson trial there is serious talk of constructing one. It would be modeled after the Atlanta Airport.

Cheers —

Kurt Vonnegut